Environmental Impact Assessment guides sustainable development at Mandai As of 26 July 2016, 10.30AM

Singapore, 26 July 2016 – Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) today gazetted the results of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its plans to develop Mandai into an integrated nature and wildlife destination that promotes sustainability and wildlife conservation.  

In line with international best practice, the EIA, a process by which the potential environmental effects of a proposed development are assessed, was commissioned by MPH to consider environmental risk and protection measures from the outset as the project was being conceptualised.

“We want sustainability and conservation to be at the heart of the Mandai project,” said Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of MPH. “As we are committed to being a responsible steward for nature, we made a conscious effort to conduct the EIA at the concept stage of the project to allow key mitigation measures to be built into the design of the new Mandai precinct.”

Situated outside the nature reserve, the total development area for the project is 63.94ha: the sites of the new Bird Park and the Rainforest Park will be developed on impacted land that was formerly occupied by the Mandai Orchid Garden, as well as an abandoned village and farmland; the nature-themed indoor education centre and accommodation options will respectively be located on the site of a multi-storey carpark and back-of-house facilities of the existing Mandai wildlife attractions managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Key outcomes

Experts worked closely with MPH to develop a concept design, which incorporates measures that will minimise environmental impact following the mitigation hierarchy of “avoid, minimise, manage and compensate”. As a result, these are some of the key measures integrated:

  • As part of MPH’s long-term proactive conservation efforts, an Eco-Link across Mandai Lake Road will be constructed to connect the two parcels of the nature reserves on either side of the Mandai Lake Road and facilitate wildlife movement in the nature reserves. The Eco-Link will be constructed in the area adjoining the nature reserves, avoiding any direct impact on vegetation and trees within those reserves.
  • The Rainforest Park will be built in the Northern land parcel to better protect the existing forest as the mature trees can be integrated into the park’s design, while the Bird Park will be located on more impacted land in the South.
  • Buffer zones, where no construction nor human activity will take place, will be provided between development areas and the nature reserves to minimise disturbance to flora and fauna.
  • There will be decentralised arrival plazas across two locations in the West and East of the development, which will spread out visitors by diverting a significant proportion of visitors away from the sensitive areas near the nature reserves.
  • A nature-themed indoor education centre, formerly designed to be housed in two different areas, will now be combined into a single building on the site of an existing multi-storey carpark to reduce footprint and avoid impact to an area of important vegetation.
  • The pedestrian walkways and boardwalks in the public areas will be constructed to avoid areas of high biodiversity value and facilitate the movement of indigenous wildlife.
Other mitigation measures at the construction and operation phases will include:
  • A multi-phased approach to reduce impact to species and habitats that will be implemented from the onset of construction through the project lifespan (e.g. Wildlife Protection Plan and Forest Restoration Plan).
  • Training to all workers onsite to educate them about the ecological sensitivities at the project area and ensure compliance to environmental protocols.
  • Design and operational protocols to reduce the likelihood of potential escape of species and the introduction of invasive species.

The mitigation measures for the project will be captured in an Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) and further assessment will be carried out as the project progresses to ensure that it remains relevant.

An Environmental Advisory Panel comprising external subject matter experts will also be set up to monitor the effective implementation of the EMMP during the construction and operation phases, and advise on necessary modifications made to the project if required.

With the mitigation measures and key changes undertaken, the majority of the impact factors cited in the EIA would be reduced to a level where the majority of impact can be reduced to a residual impact of small or below.

A collaborative journey

The EIA, which was conducted by global consultancy firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM), was developed through an ongoing consultation process involving multiple stakeholders, including nature groups and government agencies.

The National University of Singapore provided technical advice and oversight, led by Prof Peter Ng and Prof Leo Tan from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Local experts and academics were also actively involved and helped to collect and analyse the biodiversity data.

Project planners met regularly with nature groups since the Mandai project was initiated and their feedback and suggestions have been incorporated in the latest draft of the EIA report where possible.

“We will continue to actively involve and engage the stakeholders to thoughtfully design the new parks, not just to minimise the impact but also to enhance the biodiversity on-site,” said Ms. Neo Gim Huay, Managing Director of Enterprise Development and Sustainability, Temasek International. “We would like the rejuvenated Mandai nature precinct to be a destination for all Singaporeans and a gold standard for environmental sustainability.”

MPH continues to welcome suggestions from the public on the rejuvenation of Mandai. Members of the public will have from now to 22 August 2016 to view and provide feedback on the full EIA report. The report can be viewed at www.mandai.com/eia or in-person at River Safari Tea House outside of the River Safari, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826 by registering through the website or booking an appointment by calling 68286135.  

 
About Mandai Park Holdings (MPH)
MPH is driving the rejuvenation of Mandai into an integrated nature and wildlife destination. MPH also oversees the business and strategic development of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the operator of Singapore’s award-winning Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. For more details about the proposed concept for the rejuvenation of Mandai, please visit www.mandai.com.

About Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS)
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is the holding company of the award-winning attractions Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. WRS is dedicated to the management of world-class leisure attractions that foster conservation and research while educating visitors about animals and their habitats. A self-funded organisation, WRS also collaborates with various partners, organisations and institutions aimed at protecting local and global biodiversity.
 

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FAQs

1. Why did MPH commission an EIA?
  • In line with international best practice, the EIA, a process by which the potential environmental effects of a proposed development are assessed, was commissioned by MPH to consider environmental risk and protection measures from the outset as the project was being conceptualised.
  • MPH commissioned an EIA as part of the planning and design process for the following reasons:
    • To gain an independent and professional assessment and prediction of the possible effects from the development of Mandai project
    • To identify important sources of impact and the sensitive receptors
    • To develop recommendations of suitable mitigating measures that can be implemented during the planning, design and operation phases to limit or reverse any adverse effects
    • To evaluate and address residual impact
 2. Why is it important for an EIA to be done at this stage?
  • In line with international best practice, the EIA was commissioned by MPH to be done at this stage so that numerous measures to avoid, minimise, manage and compensate for environmental impacts associated within a development of this nature will be integrated into the concept design from the outset.
  • This allows for a comprehensive set of avoidance measures or methods to mitigate any negative impact to the environment to be built into the design of both the development and its construction process.
 3. What land / site did the EIA focus on? What is the project site?
  • Situated outside the nature reserve, the total development area for the project is 63.94ha.
  • The sites of the new Bird Park and the Rainforest Park will be developed on impacted land that was formerly occupied by the Mandai Orchid Garden, as well as an abandoned village and farmland.
  • The nature-themed indoor education centre and accommodation options will respectively be located on the site of a multi-storey carpark and back-of-house facilities of the existing Mandai wildlife attractions managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
 4. Who conducted the EIA? Who was involved in the process?
  • MPH commissioned global consultancy firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to conduct the EIA. However, it was developed through an ongoing consultation process involving multiple stakeholders, including nature groups and Government agencies.
  • NUS provided technical advice and oversight; URA, NParks, AVA, NEA and PUB are the technical agencies who reviewed the EIA findings; while STB facilitated the process.
  • Over the course of the EIA, the engagement with external stakeholders has enabled avoidance and mitigation of potential impacts to be identified and incorporated into the conceptual design.
  • Stakeholder engagement will continue beyond the EIA and into the detailed design, construction and operation phases of the Mandai project.
 5. How long will the EIA be open for public viewing? Will there be a place to view it physically?
  • The EIA report will be open for public viewing for 4 weeks, from 26 July to 22 August.
  • The public can view the EIA report anytime online at their convenience at www.mandai.com/eia
  • The hardcopy EIA report is also available at River Safari Teahouse VIP room at 80 Mandai Lake Road for public viewing. Appointment can be made through the website www.mandai.com/eia or by calling 68286135 to view the report during office hours.
 6. How can members of public give their feedback? How would MPH deal with public feedback?
  • MPH has been taking in suggestions and continues to welcome suggestions from the public on the rejuvenation of Mandai.
  • Members of the public can provide their feedback to the project team on www.mandai.com
 7. Would MPH consider revising the design of the development to incorporate comments / suggestions from the public?
  • MPH has been taking in suggestions from the public. For example, in response to earlier public feedback about the ease of getting to Mandai, MPH is exploring options with the Government to improve accessibility to Mandai by public transport.
  • Those who are interested to comment on or provide suggestions about the Mandai development can visit http://www.mandai.com for more details.
 8. What are the key highlights of the EIA? What is the significance of the overall impact assessment?
  • EIA findings have guided planning decisions of the Mandai project, which resulted in the following key adjustments:
    • An Eco-Link across Mandai Lake Road will be constructed to connect the two parcels of the nature reserves on either side of the Mandai Lake Road and establish wildlife movement in the nature reserves. The Eco-Link will be constructed in the area adjoining the nature reserves, avoiding any direct impact on vegetation and trees within those reserves.
    • The Rainforest Park will be built in the Northern land parcel to better protect the existing forest as the mature trees can be integrated into the park’s design, while the Bird Park will be located on more impacted land in the South.
    • Buffer zones, where no construction nor human activity will take place, will be provided between development areas and the nature reserves to minimise disturbance to flora and fauna.
    • There will be decentralised arrival plazas across two locations in the West and East of the development, which will spread out visitors by diverting a significant proportion of visitors away from the sensitive areas near the nature reserves.
    • A nature-themed indoor education centre, formerly designed to be housed in two different areas, will now be combined into a single building on the site of an existing multi-storey carpark to reduce footprint and avoid impact to an area of important vegetation.
    • The pedestrian walkways and boardwalks in the public areas will be constructed to avoid areas of high biodiversity value and facilitate the movement of indigenous wildlife.
  • An Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) will follow from the EIA where we ensure that mitigation measures are properly implemented. This plan will evolve as the project progresses and additional corrective measures and necessary modifications are made to the project.
  • An Environmental Advisory Panel is being set up to provide guidance and oversight for the EMMP.
  • With the mitigation measures and key changes undertaken, the majority of the impact factors cited in the EIA would be reduced to a level where the majority of impact can be reduced to a residual impact of small or below 
 9. How will wildlife be relocated? How will MPH bring back displaced native wildlife?
  • A Wildlife Protection Plan, with inputs from independent biodiversity experts, is being developed to manage impact to wildlife during the construction phase with the aim of protecting and retaining key species and habitats. As part of this plan, we will put up barriers and shepherd wildlife into safe zones while construction is taking place. We will also closely monitor animal behaviours during this time to assess the effectiveness of our measures.   
  • Restoration of the site will commence at the onset of construction in accordance to a Forest Restoration Plan, which will restore the native species in the area and manage the exotic species present at the site.
 10. What is the size of the buffer zones in the development?
  • The buffer zones in the Mandai development will be 45-50m in width. This has been agreed upon with the relevant Government agencies.
 11. Even though the overall impact is listed as small or below, what additional measures will MPH take to mitigate the impact?
  • As the project progresses into detailed design stages, there are several opportunities that can be explored to protect and enhance the habitats and biodiversity values in the area.
  • These are areas where innovative and thoughtful design ideas can be incorporated to ensure environmental impact is minimised and benefits are enhanced. 
  • It is also important to note the positive long-term benefits of the development:
    • Establishing wildlife movement between the northern and southern reaches across Mandai Lake Road within the nature reserve via the eco-link
    • Enabling proactive management of threatened species and their habitats through conservation and habitat restoration
    • Reducing invasive plant and weed species populations
    • Setting a high standard for biodiversity mitigation and management in Singapore
 12. How will we ensure that all mitigation measures will be carried out properly?
  • An Environmental Advisory Panel comprising external subject matter experts will be set up to monitor the effective implementation of the Environmental Monitoring and Management Plan (EMMP) during the construction and operation phases, and advise on necessary modifications made to the project if required
  • The aim of the EMMP is to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures and to monitor the environmental impacts of the implementation, so that corrective actions and necessary modifications can be made to the project should there be any exceedance in impact level
  • The mitigation measures in the EMMP are dynamic and will be updated as and when we get more details on the design and as construction details become available 
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